Daily Digest 11/6 – Rising Health Care Costs Stall Americans’ Dreams, ‘Mother Of All Bubbles’ Could Blow Up Economy Within 2 Years

Economy

Rising health-care costs stall Americans’ dreams of buying homes, building families and saving for retirement (Saxplayer00o1)

When it comes to health care, the average American household spent almost $5,000 per person last year in out-of-pocket expenses and insurance premiums. That’s a 101% increase from the roughly $2,500 per person that Americans spent about 34 years ago in 1984, according to an analysis of the Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Expenditures Survey by data company Clever.

California cities, fire districts are being hit hard by CalPERS’ extra levies for ‘unfunded actuarial liability’ (Saxplayer00o1)

Throughout California, local officials have complained loudly about the ever-rising CalPERS assessments, saying they’ll have no choice but to cut services unless local voters are willing to raise taxes.

CalPERS officials, on the other hand, contend that they also have no choice because their investments haven’t fully recovered from the last recession and they must improve their balance sheet to cope with the next downturn.

China’s 2020 Crisis: $283 Billion of Maturing Local Debt (Saxplayer00o1)

But the annual cost of Chinese municipal bond debt maturities has ballooned from $34 billion in 2017; to $118 billion in 2018; $183 billion in 2019; and is expected to top $283 billion in 2020, according to Bloomberg.

BIG MOMMA? ‘Mother of all bubbles’ could blow up economy in next 2 years – strategist (Saxplayer00o1)

Every economic cycle ends with excess which is sovereign debt, says Joe Zidle, chief investment strategist at Blackstone. This time such excess sovereign debt might be the “mother of all bubbles”, he suggests.

The strategist said that failures in the repo market, negative-yielding debt, a deeply negative term premium, trade conflicts around the world, and a collapse in manufacturing all seem unrelated right now. “At the end of any economic cycle, we often get warnings that appear to be unrelated,” he says. “It’s in hindsight that we realize that they were not at all random.”

Kuroda says Bank of Japan’s extra easing won’t be limited to interest rate cuts (Saxplayer00o1)

Market participants have increasingly expected the BOJ to reduce short-term rates from the current minus 0.1 percent in any additional easing. But many banks have grown concerned that deeper negative rates could eat into their profit margins.

Researchers used a laser to hack Alexa and other voice assistants (Sparky1)

Researchers at the University of Michigan and Japan’s University of Electro-Communications figured out they could do this silently and from hundreds of feet away, as long as they had a line of sight to the smart gadget. The finding could enable anyone (with motivation and a few hundred dollars’ worth of electronics) to attack a smart speaker from outside your house, making it do anything from playing music to opening a smart garage door to buying you stuff on Amazon.

ABC News Defends Its Epstein Coverage After Leaked Video Of Anchor (Thomas R.)

“I’ve had the story for three years,” Robach says in the video. “We would not put it on the air. Um, first of all, I was told, ‘Who was Jeffrey Epstein? No one knows who that is. This is a stupid story.’ Then the palace found out that we had her whole allegations about Prince Andrew and threatened us a million different ways.”

Under shroud of secrecy US weapons arrive in Yemen despite Congressional outrage (Thomas R.)

Using whistleblower accounts and port documents CNN has identified the ship which offloaded the US weaponry in Aden last week as the Saudi-registered Bahri Hofuf. Looking at tracking data, the vessel’s last recorded location was in the Saudi port of Jeddah on September 17, before it sailed to Port Sudan, arriving the following day.

Robinhood glitch is letting users trade with unlimited amounts of borrowed cash (Thomas R.)

Georgetown University law professor Donald Langevoort told Bloomberg that traders who take advantage of the glitch may have to pay it back, and potentially face securities fraud charges. “If you take advantage of someone’s mistake to line your own pockets, you need to pay them back,” he said.

Mark U.S. Business Cycle Chart Book November 2019 (Axel M.)

A cross reference to the 10yr-3yr shows a yield curve that has remained positively sloped (meaning the 10yr yield is higher than the 3yr yield). The yield curve is slightly steeper since last month’s report, but the bigger picture flattening trend has continued. The 10yr-3yr curve may invert in the coming quarters. Chart Framework: I’d get incrementally negative on the medium-term business cycle outlook if the yield curve inverted (i.e., 3yr yield > 10yr yield).

Trump Vows To Protect Syrian Oil Fields From ISIS (Thomas R.)

This has made for a complicated situation. The commander of the SF blamed the U.S. withdrawal for forcing the militias to strike a deal with Assad. “If we have to choose between compromise and genocide, we will choose our people,” Mazloum Abdi wrote for Foreign Policy. “The Russian and Syrian regime have made proposals that could save the lives of millions of people who live under our protection.”

OPEC Braces For Drastic Drop In Oil Demand (Michael S.)

OPEC said it was “fully engaged and supportive of the Paris Agreement,” and that there is “no Planet B.” The group reiterated the urgent need for oil-exporting countries to diversify their economies, even as there is relatively scant evidence that OPEC member countries are actually doing so.

‘Climate emergency’: Over 11,000 scientists sound thunderous warning (TS)

Tuesday’s updated warning is specifically focused on the climate crisis and collates reams of annual data on population growth, loss of tree cover, greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption over the last four decades. It shows worrying trends: Most of the measurements of human-induced climate change are going in the wrong direction and have been since 1979.

Gold & Silver

Click to read the PM Daily Market Commentary: 11/5/19

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